And by 'thee,' I mean 'me'!
Yes. I unashamedly work on myself first. I seek joy and mindfully pursue happiness. Ironically, it's one of the most selfless things you'll ever do – to love yourself first. We’ve all heard about the concept of 'self-love.' In fact, it’s running the ragged edge of becoming a buzzword – one embroidered on an on-trend, overpriced scatter cushion. However, 'self-love' is not a passing word or a phrase; it is a lifelong practice that we must consciously maintain and prioritise if we are to beam our unique light on the world. And the world needs your light!
I believe that all things in life come down to balance. A balanced diet, a balanced fitness regime, and a balanced mindset make for a balanced individual. Now more than ever, we've been thrown off balance. We've had to shift, wobble and realign more times than any of us ever signed up for. So, what do we do to minimise life’s vertigo and draw closer to equanimity?
Well, we begin with becoming more mindful.
We can't control our external world, but we can control our reactions to it.
For this reason, I launched and recently completed a 100 Days of Celebration – because shared joys are doubled, even quadrupled. Each day I observed something that inspired curiosity, connection, and celebration in me and ticked it off on the downloadable 100 Days of Celebration Chart I created. I sometimes shared these daily experiences with others, and they, in turn, shared their joyful moments as we celebrated and counted down our way to 2022.
Needless to say, that 100 days equated to an abundance of joyful, mindful, zesty moments. Some of my grander moments were travelling to Edinburgh twice and visiting my parents in South Africa. These more chunky moments were interspersed with trinkets of smaller, finer moments, like dancing in the snow and dying my hair a deep jade (now blonde)!
Who says we can’t be rockstars our whole lives?
On other days, I mindfully paused for longer, breathed more deeply, or became more observant by simply slowing down.
So, what is the science, the theory, behind this mindful, visual tracking practice – in this case, my 100-Days Chart?
James Clear, the author of the New York Times bestseller, Atomic Habits, says, "If you want to stick with a habit for good, one simple and effective thing you can do is keep a habit tracker." He goes on to say that "you need some immediate feedback that shows you are on the right path." Visual feedback happens immediately every time a mindful, grateful moment square on the Chart is ticked off. Why?
1. It creates a visual cue to remind you to act
2. It is motivating to see progress being made.
3. It is satisfying to record success in the moment.
4. We see that we are moving forward.
5. We are more likely to stick to our commitment, to 'show up.'
If we track the number of mornings we exercised, or the number of hours or minutes we read for, meditated for, or journaled for, we are far more likely to stick to and improve on those things. It creates AWARENESS and shiny new healthy habits. It keeps us answerable to our sovereign selves.
Don’t let the countdown to a new year, or the end of the next, limit you; you can start celebrating your next 100 days whenever you choose! And when those 100 days are up, I encourage you to start over with a whole new chart.
You can’t consciously change what you are not conscious of in the first place. Keeping track of small daily wins and joys gives you immediate feedback and is excellent for habit-forming, making it easier to stick to your joy-spotting and celebration commitment! Before long, you’ll be a ‘tick’ off the old block ;).
You can get you own 100 Day Celebration and Gratitude chart HERE.